The Necrotechs Workshop XI – Battle Tested

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Continued Theory – Coven

Last time, we took a quick look at the Coven’s basic stat line, concepts, Feat, spells and special rules. It was a general overview of their use and power. In the previous edition, they were slightly weaker than I would have liked, and the chance to use them again is extremely compelling. While they’ve not changed much in their overall form, the dynamics of the metagame surrounding them indeed has. The world that we live in, game wise, seems to be dominated by Gunlines and Warjacks. Nothing says no to a gun line like the Nightfall.

However, I’d not put together a solid list, and had been defeated both times at Lock and Load. This time I’d managed to think a little bit about the list and was going to get a game in against Cygnar. This was going to be a test, indeed!

To Much to Fast

Heading into the day of the game (Tuesdays are game night), I was asking the Cryx facebook group, among others, some input on the Witch Coven. Nothing specific, mind you, simply information that I could give or take based on my tendencies and how I play the game. Some of them were useless to me, but others took right to heart.

I had a list that I’d tweaked prior to talking to the internet

It looked something like this:

Witch Coven of Gharlghast
-Egregore
-Scarlock
-Nightwretch x2
-Deathripper x1
-Ripjaw x1
Satyxis Raiders
-Sea Witch
Soulhunters
Bane Warriors
-Officer and Standard
Carrion Thralls

After talking with the internet, I’d decided I needed to do a whole lot of shifting around, which meant I pulled out the soul hunters and the Scarlock to add Madelyn Corbeau, Min Thralls (sucker now works on any warrior that is not incorporeal), Ogrun Bokur, Orin Midwinter, and an upgrade of the second Deathripper to a ripjaw. This left me without a speedy threat, and a list that put a lot of eggs into the basket that made sure that my coven didn’t die.

Maybe someone with greater aggression that I would have need of all of the above protection, but man. I do not.

My final list, for completions sake.

Witch Coven of Gharlghast
-Egregore
-Madelyn Corbeau
-Nightwretch x2
-Ripjaw
-Defiler
Satyxis Raiders (10)
-Sea Witch
Orin Midwinter
Ogrun Bokur
Bane Warriors (10)
-Officer and Standard
Carrion Thralls (10)

Vs his list.

Haley 3
-Sylyas
-Thorn
-Dynamo
Allison Jakes
-Gallant
Harlan Versh
Tarilyn di la Rovisi
Rhupert Corvalo
Aiyana and Holt
-Murdoch
Sword Knights (10)
Trenchers (6)

(There may be a discrepancy in the list, overall, I don’t think it woulda mattered)

It was a bloodbath.

Against what I had seen as discreet design, his list was excellently defended against melee attacks. Sword Knights were 17’s, Haley and  Co were 18’s, and Gallant was a def 17 against everything with no knockdown or push. Trenchers and Rhupert provided Clouds and Concealment.  It was a very solidly defensive army, and it did its job well.

I, for my part, understood what the game was going to be, and jammed into him as swiftly as I could, popping feat on turn 1 to get down field. I did a number of things poorly this turn which, when compounded with the issues later in the game, spelled complete victory for my opponent. When your playing into a good opponent, with a solid army, you’ve only a few chances to make the most out of the situation, and I did my best to squander them at every opportunity while enabling him to take advantage of the ones I provide. Make no mistake though, My opponent beat me resoundingly. If there is a game that you can look at and say you did everything right, however, your lying to yourself.

Mistakes turn 1:
– I didn’t cast Occultation, and Instead cast Curse of Shadows on Thorn.
-Bottled up my arc nodes after measuring to see where they were I could put them and still target two models with Stygian Abyss
-Walking Orin Midwinter, instead of running, thinking that his Arcane Vortex was an active, instead of passive, ability.
-Failing to Cast Infernal Machine after measuring where it would land my arc node in order to accomplish error #2

It was not the best of turns, but I hoped it would be neutralized a touch by my feat, which made it difficult to counter attack. That, I did accomplish, though it came to give me a false sense of security the turns afterward, even as models fell and were removed from the board, that it wasn’t that bad.

The next turn, with many of my banes exploded into nothingness via Arced and direct target chain blasts from the counter-Feat, I tossed what few banes I could into Thorn in the vain hope that maybe they could all roll hot. It was not to be, and the first attack, as expected, missed and triggered dodge. Dynamo I couldn’t really get to, but was only really afraid of him getting to Egregore on the feat turn. After that Stealth was my friend and he would be relegated to taking down my Arc Nodes. An important task, but one I will gladly take in exchange for not outright loosing the game.

The Satyxis, true to their form, went on a tear through the infantry of the army, all 1.5 units, but took way longer and way more casualties than I would have liked. Def. 17 meant that even with gang, I was banking on 9’s to tag the sword Knights. I managed to take out the +2 from Young Haley on one vital turn, and shoot at them a few more times with the Nightwretch and the Defiler. One thing I’d failed to notice, not that it would have given me a ton of hope, but it was there – that the lacerators are Magic Damage, and can take down, provided they hit, the Haley Past and Present.

You can see that the Banes and the Carrion Thralls had high impact on this game. Outside of a few attacks here and there, which they mostly missed, neither unit really performed how I would have liked. The Carrion Thralls did eat up a ton of attacks on the Left Flank, with Taryn, Harlan, and even Haley Prime herself putting in time to take them down.

The game ended after two back to back failed, highly improbably, Assassination runs by me. The first was a pair of boosted Stygian Abyss into Haley Prime, netting a bit of damage and blind, but nothing like I would have wanted, maybe 6. (8 would have been average-ish, spike for 10 makes me pretty pleased), followed up by the Ripjaw with a broken head needing 15’s on three dice to hit and do boosted pow 10’s with no focus. It wasn’t impossible, per se, but it was very bad.

Lessons

This game, my third in MKIII and my first outside of Seattle, was very informative. I enjoy the Coven, but I think I need a bit more practice with them before I become really good at them. Their assassination run has been toned down way to much for my liking, but now I’ve got a few more ways to deliver a ton of infantry – Hopefully that hits hard regardless of guns. Getting Satyxis Raiders into gun range on feat turn and outside of 5″ so that they have to move is looking at a def. of 18 against base RAT. I think that’ll be pretty handy going forward.

The Coven has a lot of spells that help deliver the army and make sure the opponent takes it on the chin, but they have no way of making it stick. The Cryx Infantry is innacurate to begin with, so they need some manor of making them a slight touch better. I’ve been pondering more Satyxis (RAT 8), Satyxis Captains (Auto Knockdown), and other inherently accurate attackers. Armor and Terrain aren’t really their problems unless its a big pile of armor, and that could be very, very bad. I think I am going to try a more armor-crushing version here, with all of the options in the list to try and make sure that even the mightiest must fall.

Cast your upkeeps! they are vital, unlike getting crit blind and curse of shadows out, because they will do more over the longer game. Infernal Machine with Ripjaws is SWEET.

More musings Thursday!